DNR collecting walleye eggs on Muskegon River

DNR collecting walleye eggs on Muskegon River

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DNR News

March 22, 2023
Contact: Ed Pearce, 231-357-4052 or Sierra Williams, 517-230-8788

DNR collecting walleye eggs on Muskegon River this spring

ElectrofishingMuskegon River anglers should be on the lookout this spring for Michigan Department of Natural Resources personnel collecting walleye eggs below Croton Dam, which is in Newaygo County.

Electrofishing boat crews will collect walleye starting as early as the week of March 27 and concluding by April 14. The date these collections begin will depend on water temperatures, the presence of ripe fish and other factors. Most work likely will be completed from the last week of March through the first week of April. Five days of electrofishing are planned, with four of those being egg-take days.

“This adult population consists of mostly stocked fish,” said Ed Pearce, DNR fisheries technician supervisor who coordinates the egg take. “The Muskegon River has the largest run of walleye in the Lake Michigan watershed south of Green Bay.”

Electrofish sampling usually begins at Croton Dam each day at about 8:30 a.m. and proceeds downstream to the Pine Street access site. If more eggs are needed, additional collections may occur downstream to the Thornapple Street access site.

Anglers who wish to avoid the walleye collection activities should fish downstream of the Pine Street access site. The DNR asks everyone to use caution when fishing near the electrofishing boats, and anyone wading will be asked to exit the water when a boat approaches and during electrofishing work.

The DNR plans to collect approximately 32 million walleye eggs from the Muskegon River this year, which will result in fry (fish that have just hatched) for transfer to rearing ponds and direct fry plants throughout the Lower Peninsula. Walleye fry transferred to ponds will be raised to fingerling size (approximately 1.5 to 2.5 inches) and stocked in late spring or early summer in lakes and rivers throughout the Lower Peninsula. Lake Michigan and many inland lake walleye populations in the Lower Peninsula depend on the fingerlings produced from Muskegon River eggs.

The size of the walleye spawning run in the Muskegon River is about 40,000 to 50,000 fish each year. DNR crews will strip milt (sperm) and eggs from approximately 545 adult fish, which will be returned to the river – except for 60, which will be sent to Michigan State University for fish health testing.

Learn more about how the DNR manages Michigan’s fisheries at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

  • Electrofishing: Michigan DNR fisheries staff electrofishing on the Muskegon River below Croton Dam.
  • Egg-take: Michigan DNR fisheries staff collect eggs from a female walleye below Croton Dam.
DNR: News Digest – Week of Feb. 27, 2023

DNR: News Digest – Week of Feb. 27, 2023

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News Digest – Week of Feb. 27, 2023

Rows of apple trees show off delicate, white-pink blossoms in early spring.

Spring will be here before you know it – plan for spring trees soon!

Here are just a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Pink on the precipice

A small child decked in pink winter gear stands on a bluff overlooking a wintry Great Lakes shoreline.Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Blair Celano at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

Plan now for spring tree planting

A person wearing sun gear gestures to a potted sapling. Whether you want to provide dazzling fall color, attract backyard wildlife or benefit pollinators like bees and butterflies, picking the right trees for spring planting involves preparation.

Important questions to ask when selecting the perfect tree for your space are:

  • Will it thrive in your area’s growing zone?
  • Does it have specific water, light or soil needs that your site can support?
  • How big will it grow? Will roots or branches interfere with building foundations or power lines?
  • Is it native or non-native? A healthy mix of native trees provides the most benefits to insects and wildlife.

Trees can be purchased from Michigan conservation district tree sales (search by individual district), seedling nurseriesthe Arbor Day Foundation and local retail and wholesale vendors.

When spring weather returns and you are ready to get a shovel in the dirt, make sure to call 811 or visit MISS DIG online first. Pros will mark utility lines for free so you can avoid making costly mistakes.

Visit Michigan.gov/MiTrees to learn more about our pledge to plant 50 million trees by 2030. See where the DNR and your neighbors have planted trees and add your own to the statewide map.

For tree planting and care information, visit our Urban and Community Forestry webpage at Michigan.gov/UCF.

Traveling soon? Don’t forget your recreational safety certificate

Two people wearing life jackets ride a jetski across a calm summer lake.If you’re planning a spring break trip to a warmer destination and intend to rent a personal watercraft (such as a Jet Ski), don’t forget to take a copy of your Michigan boater safety certificate.

Safety certificates show you’ve completed a program meant to teach the fundamentals of safety for your chosen activity. Many states require this documentation before you can rent and/or operate a boat or personal watercraft. If you’ve misplaced your certificate, you can request a duplicate.

Don’t have a safety certificate? You can take recreational safety education courses online from the comfort of your home and at your own pace at Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety. Questions? Email DNR-LED-RecSafety@Michigan.gov.

Outdoor skills classes, Lumberjack Run and many more events set for March

A runner decked out in red buffalo check flannel and suspenders grins at the camera while holding a finisher's medal triumphantly.As we head into the home stretch of winter, March offers plenty of opportunities to keep cabin fever at bay and enjoy Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. For a full list of DNR events, visit Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar.

Outdoor Skills Academy classes

Whether it’s getting started with a new outdoor pursuit or brushing up on skills and learning tips and tricks from the pros, the DNR Outdoor Skills Academy can help. The last installment of this winter’s Hard Water School – a two-day class focusing on ice fishing techniques for panfish, walleye and pike – is set for March 4-5 in Cadillac. Learn to weave a pair of traditional wooden snowshoes at the snowshoe making class at Ludington State Park March 11-12. Get strategies and techniques for chasing Michigan’s “chrome torpedoes” during the steelhead fishing clinic March 18-19, and get ready for spring turkey season with the turkey hunting clinic March 25 – both those classes will be held in Cadillac.

And don’t forget to sign up for the April 1 maple syrup clinic, in Cadillac.

See a full schedule of classes at Michigan.gov/OutdoorSkills.

Fun at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit

If you find yourself in southeast Michigan, check out some of the fun events for all ages at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit.

Meet live animals and explore a mobile classroom full of hands-on wildlife and nature activities with a presentation by Howell Nature Center and the Spirit of Alexandria Nature Bus, coming to the OAC March 4. Learn about the story of wild rice in Michigan with a visit by local author Barb Barton March 12. The OAC’s series of family hikes at state parks kicks off March 23. And don’t miss the chance to sport your best flannel apparel and lumberjack beard for the annual Lumberjack Pancake Run and Lumberjack Day March 25.

Those are just a few of the highlights. March also features a variety of other programs for kids, seniors and families – find more info on the Outdoor Adventure Center events calendar.

Public lands: Lots of ways to support, enjoy them

Two children, with two adults supervising, tend to an overgrown area.Each month, the DNR offers a variety of opportunities to help take care of Michigan’s natural and cultural resources. Here are a few ways to get involved this March.

State park volunteer stewardship workdays

Several state parks in southern Michigan will host stewardship workdays, where volunteers are needed to help remove invasive plants that threaten high-quality ecosystems:

  • Warren Dunes State Park in Berrien County – March 4 and 25.
  • Brighton Recreation Area in Livingston County – March 5.
  • Yankee Springs Recreation Area in Barry County – March 5 and 26.
  • Bald Mountain Recreation Area in Oakland County – March 11.
  • Waterloo Recreation Area in Jackson County – March 12.
  • Highland Recreation Area in Oakland County – March 18.
  • Fort Custer Recreation Area in Kalamazoo County – March 19.
  • Island Lake Recreation Area in Livingston County – March 19.
  • Belle Isle Park in Wayne County – March 25.
  • Pinckney Recreation Area in Washtenaw County – March 26.

More details about each workday and how to register can be found on the DNR volunteer events calendar.

Input on latest state land review recommendations

The DNR is hosting virtual public meetings March 1 and 2 to provide information on the state land review process and opportunities for feedback on recommendations on whether to keep, exchange or sell DNR-managed public land in 11 counties: Cheboygan, Crawford, Eaton, Ingham, Jackson, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Muskegon, Osceola, Otsego and Ottawa.

The state land review process – which involves DNR-managed lands 200 acres or less in size or that, due to an irregular boundary, may be difficult to manage – stems from the DNR public land strategy and determines whether these parcels are contributing strongly to the department’s mission.

Visit the DNR’s land review webpage for more information on how to participate.

On the Ground habitat improvement projects

On the Ground, Michigan United Conservation Clubs’ volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program, will host two stewardship workdays in March. Volunteers are needed March 4 to help enhance habitat and boost fish populations at Au Train Lake in Alger County, and March 24 to help cut invasive vegetation and create brush piles to provide habitat for a variety of wildlife at Edmore State Game Area in Montcalm County.

Find more details and register for these events at MUCC.org/on-the-ground.

For more opportunities to volunteer, contribute and provide input, visit Michigan.gov/DNRVolunteers.


Want to keep up with the work of conservation officers and other DNR pros Michigan? Check out the newest episode of ‘Wardens‘ on the Outdoor Channel.


Some of Michigan’s outdoor recreation seasons and license periods renew in spring; now is a good time to plan ahead for your next adventure!


Want to share your passion for the outdoors? Become a volunteer safety instructor and help people stay safe in the woods and on the water.

News Digest – Week of Feb. 20, 2023

News Digest – Week of Feb. 20, 2023

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News Digest – Week of Feb. 20, 2023

Green and beige shelf mushrooms grow on a fallen log.

Bring your classroom to the forest with the Wheels to Woods program!

Here are just a few of this week’s stories from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources:

See other news releases, Showcasing the DNR stories, photos and other resources at Michigan.gov/DNRPressRoom.

PHOTO FOLDER: Larger, higher-res versions of the images used below, and others, are available in this folder.

Photo ambassador snapshot: Blustery Big Sable

A gray winter storm blows across a frozen lake, bufetting a solitary lighthouse.Want to see more pictures like this, taken by Michigan state parks photo ambassador Sarah Goodwin at Ludington State Park in Mason County? Visit Instagram.com/MiStateParks to explore photos and learn more about the photo ambassadors! For more on the photo ambassador program, call Stephanie Yancer at 989-274-6182.

The clock is ticking! Happy Little 5K registration closes March 1

Run for the Trees Happy Little 5K" graphic with stylized forest, birds and Bob Ross characterIf you’ve been thinking about signing up for this year’s Bob Ross-inspired Happy Little (Virtual) 5K, now is the time. Registration for this state parks-supporting race closes March 1.

April 22-29, walk, run or roll for this year’s Run for the Trees / Happy Little (Virtual) 5K. For $34 per person, you’ll receive a keepsake Happy Little T-shirt, a commemorative bib number and a finisher’s medal. An international shipping option is available for participants outside the United States. Group discounts (for parties of 10 or more) are available, too.

All race proceeds support management of invasive plant and forest pests and early detection surveys in Michigan state parks. Many of these locations have been affected by tree pests and diseases like emerald ash borer and oak wilt.

Over the past three years alone, more than 52,000 participants across all 50 states and several countries – including Australia, England and Mexico – have participated in the event, which has raised more than $1 million in net proceeds for Michigan.

Now in its fourth year, the Happy Little 5K program has expanded to include four other states. Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, South Carolina and Wisconsin will “lock arms” together to raise awareness and funding for stewardship efforts in state parks.

“We’re excited to work with other states to get people outdoors, while expanding our impact to protect state parks,” said Michelle O’Kelly, fund developer and Happy Little Trees race director for the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

Inspired by Bob Ross’ love of the outdoors, Michigan’s “Happy Little Trees” program began with a partnership between the Michigan DNR, Bob Ross Inc. and hundreds of volunteers helping to plant trees at locations hard-hit by invasive pests and tree diseases across Michigan. The program quickly expanded to include the Happy Little 5k.

Learn more about the program at Michigan.gov/DNRHappyLittleTrees, or sign up for the race directly.

For more information, contact Michelle O’Kelly at 517-899-5211.

Get kids outdoors with Wheels to Woods

A group of children walk on a paved path into a lush green forest.Looking for creative ways to get your preK-12 classrooms and other youth groups outdoors to learn about Michigan’s mighty forests? Apply for the Wheels to Woods program!

We provide the wheels, you provide the lesson plan – let your imagination run wild and pick a theme that best meets the needs of your group. Past locations range from state parks and family forests to wetlands and woodlots. Classes cover a lot of ground: invasive plants, endangered species, maple syrup production, wood products and more. You might even consider finding community partners or bringing in an industry professional to give your class or learning group a one-of-a-kind experience.

“Although kids are spending less time outside in today’s fast-paced, tech-focused world, educators can capitalize on learning opportunities by bringing their students outdoors,” said Meagan Hoffman, Wheels to Woods program administrator. “Hands-on learning helps kids more deeply understand and relate to educational topics, and spending time in nature has mental and physical health benefits to help your students feel their best.”

Applications for the program are open now – take advantage of this valuable opportunity to connect kids to the woods or a forest products company for an educational field trip. Your learning group could receive a transportation reimbursement of up to $350 per bus or $1,000 per school.

This partner-supported program is funded by grants from the USDA Forest Service. For more information and to apply, visit WheelsToWoods.org.

Questions? Contact Meagan Hoffman at Admin@WheelsToWoods.org.

Summer (lake) lovin’ – help monitor water quality, fish habitat

A young child wearing a pink fleece and life jacket lowers a disc over the side of a boat into the water using a thin white ropeAre you looking for a summer volunteer opportunity that allows you to spend time on your favorite Michigan lake? Look no further than the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program.

For 50 years, program volunteers have collected valuable data on water quality and fish habitat in lakes statewide – information used by local communities, researchers and state agencies like the DNR to better protect and manage Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes and the fish and wildlife that rely on them.

This community science opportunity gives you an inside look into what’s happening in your favorite lake. As part of this program, you’ll receive detailed instructions, training and equipment to collect this valuable data. You choose which lake to sample and which measurements to take. You can collect data on water quality (water clarity, nutrients, dissolved oxygen and algae), invasive species, native plants and shoreline conditions.

There is a small fee to cover the costs of supplies and analyzing samples, but volunteers often can collaborate with local lake associations or other organizations to help pay for these costs.

Want to show your lakes some love? Visit the CLMP enrollment webpage for more information or contact Erick Elgin (MSU Extension) at 231-928-1053 or Joe Nohner (DNR) at 517-599-6825.

The MiCorps Clean Lakes Monitoring Program is sponsored by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy and is administered in partnership with MSU Extension, the Michigan Lakes and Streams Association and the Huron River Watershed Council.

Tips, networking and more at Shoreline and Shallows Conference

Freshwater shoreline featuring foliage, a fallen birch log and a pontoon boat with forest in the distance.Many Michiganders love the thousands of inland lakes scattered across our state for their beauty, recreational enjoyment, cultural connections and more, but not everyone knows the benefits of natural, healthy shorelines – or how residents and visitors can help protect these places.

If you want to learn more, don’t miss the Shoreline and Shallows Conference Thursday, March 9, hosted in person at the Kellogg Center in East Lansing

This year’s theme is “Improving Near Shore Habitat for People, Plants and Animals.” The conference starts off with the current state of Michigan’s inland lake shorelines, based on findings from the National Lake Assessment conducted by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Experts with the Wisconsin and Michigan departments of Natural Resources will discuss why woody structures are good for lakes and how they can be used for projects like “fish sticks” and “turtle logs.” The conference also will highlight one of the largest projects in Michigan for shoreline erosion control using woody structures.

Other topics include bioengineered shorelines, aquatic plants and best management practices associated with the updated shoreline permitting process.

“As development around lakes increases, native vegetation is often removed to make way for swimming beaches and ‘uncluttered’ yards, and that has huge negative effects,” said Joe Nohner, inland lakes habitat analyst with the DNR. “Natural shorelines with native vegetation such as flowering plants, shrubs and trees benefit lakes, plant and animal life, and property values in so many ways.”

Aquatic vegetation:

  • Intercepts and prevents pollutants and nutrients from entering a body of water.
  • Protects the shore from erosion by decreasing wave energy.
  • Provides habitat, through plants and downed trees, for a variety of birds, mammals, reptiles and fish.
  • Can increase property values by improving water quality and aesthetic appeal.

The Shoreline and Shallows Conference is for anyone interested in managing lakefront property in an environmentally friendly manner. Networking opportunities include an exhibitor hall, refreshment area and luncheon. Registration by Feb. 26 is $50. After that date, registration is $65. The cost includes lunch. Get the complete conference agenda and registration details.

The conference is hosted by the Michigan Natural Shoreline Partnership and its member organizations including the DNR, EGLE, Michigan State University Extension, Michigan State University’s Institute of Water Research and GEI Consultants. 

Questions? Contact Joe Nohner (DNR), 517-599-6825 or Julia Kirkwood (EGLE), 269-312-2760.


Do you know which pests and diseases threaten our woods and waters? Learn more about invasive species and management practices with NotMiSpecies webinars.


As temperatures warm up, many folks will be thinking about ORV trails. Visit our ORV info page and get up to date on everything you need to get on the trails. Don’t forget to get your license and trail permit!

DNR collecting walleye eggs on Muskegon River

DNR News: Gaylord tornado response

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DNR News

Feb. 16, 2023

Michigan Department of Natural Resources conservation officers based in Gaylord and Detroit recently were honored for their lifesaving efforts last year in response to the Gaylord tornado and a medical event on Belle Isle in Detroit.

Gaylord tornado response

Contact: Lt. Vence Woods, 989-705-3449

four conservation officers standing in hallway smilingTwo environmental investigations conservation officers received DNR Law Enforcement Division awards during the Michigan Natural Resources Commission’s February meeting in Lansing for their swift, effective response to the Gaylord tornado.

Lt. Vence Woods, environmental investigations supervisor, was presented with a Distinguished Service Award and a Lifesaving Award. Det. Chris Bowen, environmental investigations conservation officer, received a Distinguished Service Award.

On May 20, 2022, at approximately 3:45 p.m., the community of Gaylord was hit by an EF-3 tornado. Several Michigan DNR conservation officers were among the first emergency responders to arrive at the scene.

Woods was working in the Gaylord-based Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy office, located at 2100 M-32, when he saw the tornado touch down near the building. After ensuring his office was secure, he gathered emergency response supplies and followed the tornado’s path in a detective unit vehicle to the Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park, located a half-mile east of the EGLE office.

The mobile home park was one of the hardest hit areas, with building frames and axles of trailers, roofs and other heavy items hanging from trees. Woods coordinated with the first emergency responders who arrived and risked his own life by searching the dangerous scene.

“In 35 years of law enforcement, that was the most volatile and dangerous place I have seen,” Woods said of the destroyed mobile home park. “When I arrived, the natural gas was spewing as loud as a jet plane. It was all you could taste and smell.”

During the response, Woods located and removed a trapped woman who was in critical condition, unable to breathe and with numerous injuries. Woods worked with others to strap the woman to a kitchen chair and carry her out of the debris and a considerable distance to a staged ambulance in a safer area.

Woods returned to the scene and searched numerous mounds of debris for people with injuries and worked to clear the scene.

Bowen immediately responded to the hardest hit areas in Gaylord and was personally responsible for assisting 15 people with emergencies and provided medical treatment to at least 11 others.

At Culver’s, 1397 W. Main St., Bowen provided medical care to two women, one with a large piece of glass in her head, the other with multiple serious cuts caused by glass that exploded from the restaurant windows.

He assisted at Hobby Lobby, 1425 W. Main St., helping other emergency responders dig through debris for trapped people, while damaged gas, water and electrical lines posed serious risk.

At the Nottingham mobile home park, Woods witnessed Bowen risk his own life, searching through debris and assisting someone who needed to retrieve medication from their destroyed mobile home.

When additional emergency personnel arrived to assist, Woods and Bowen provided details of where they searched, people they located, and those who may be missing.

Both conservation officers used their knowledge of the area and emergency response training to assist local authorities in the days following the tornado.

Woods has worked in law enforcement since 1987. Both he and Bowen have served as conservation officers since 2000.

Environmental investigation conservation officers are funded by the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Belle Isle medical response

Contact: Lt. Jason Becker, 313-396-6890

CO Ariel YoungDuring a department staff meeting Monday in Livonia, two DNR conservation officers received Lifesaving Awards for their response to a medical situation that occurred on Belle Isle in November.

On Nov. 13, 2022, Conservation Officers Ariel Young and Brandon Vacek responded to an emergency dispatch call regarding an unresponsive woman at the Detroit island park.

With unclear details as to the woman’s location, Young located a group of people near the James Scott Memorial Fountain, located at Fountain Drive and Sunset Drive, at 5:59 p.m.

CO Brandon VacekVacek met Young at the scene where the unresponsive woman’s friends were attempting to perform CPR on her in the backseat of a vehicle.

Vacek attempted to keep the group calm while collecting information about the woman.

Young removed the woman from the vehicle, gently laid her on the ground and detected a faint pulse. The woman was unresponsive, so Young began sternal rubs to help her regain consciousness. With the woman still unresponsive, Young administered two doses of NARCAN while continuing sternal rubs.

NARCAN is a medication used for suspected opioid use, commonly administered through the nose.

After the second dose of NARCAN, the woman regained full consciousness and was able to maintain a conversation.

EMS arrived at 6:05 p.m. and assessed the woman’s vitals. After consulting with a hospital doctor via phone, the woman was discharged from the ambulance.

The DNR is not releasing the name of the woman.

Young and Vacek are graduates of the DNR’s 2018 Conservation Officer Recruit School Academy and patrol in southeast Michigan.

Michigan conservation officers are fully commissioned law enforcement officers who provide natural resources protection, ensure recreational safety, and protect residents through general law enforcement and conducting lifesaving operations in the communities they serve. Learn more at Michigan.gov/ConservationOfficers.

Note to editors: Accompanying photos are available below for download. Caption information follows.

Bowen, Woods: Michigan DNR conservation officers, left to right: Capt. Jen Wolf, Det. Chris Bowen, Lt. Vence Woods, Chief Dave Shaw. Bowen and Woods received awards during the Feb. 9 Michigan Natural Resources Commission meeting in Lansing for their response to the EF-3 tornado that struck Gaylord in May. Woods was presented with a Distinguished Service Award and Lifesaving Award. Bowen received a Distinguished Service Award.

Vacek: Brandon Vacek has been a conservation officer since 2018 and patrols Monroe County. He received the DNR Law Enforcement Division’s Lifesaving Award.

Young: Ariel Young has been a conservation officer since 2018 and patrols Wayne County. She received the DNR Law Enforcement Division Lifesaving Award.

Starting March 1, residents pay $13 for Recreation Passport

Starting March 1, residents pay $13 for Recreation Passport

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DNR News

a well-trod sandy path winds through pale green and brown grasses to a sand dune on the shore, a steel blue sky stretches all the way across

Feb. 10, 2023
Contact: Ron Olson, 517-243-1477

Starting March 1, residents will pay $13 for Recreation Passport; first increase in three years

Passport gives year-round vehicle access to state parks and other outdoor recreation, and an easy way to help protect natural resources for generations

Packing up for a camping trip. Fishing from your favorite pier. Parking the car, ready to enjoy thousands of miles of motorized and nonmotorized trails or drop your boat in the water …

Those are just a few outdoor amenities and experiences that start with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ valued-packed Recreation Passport, which gives year-round vehicle access to 100-plus state parks and recreation areas, more than 1,000 state-managed boating access sites, 140-plus state forest campgrounds, and parking at thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces.

Next month, people will see a slight increase in the cost of a Recreation Passport, but at just over a dollar per month it is still the best recreation deal around. Effective March 1, the Recreation Passport resident vehicle fee increases from $12 to $13 (and from $6 to $7 for motorcycles) – the first such increase since 2020.

The moderate fee change is a result of a statutory provision that ensures Recreation Passport funding keeps pace with the economy. Basically, the law says that the DNR does not determine the cost of the Recreation Passport; instead, fee adjustments are based on the Consumer Price Index, as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The notice of change was provided by the Michigan Department of Treasury in November.

March 1, the resident Recreation Passport fee will increase:

  • From $12 to $13 for vehicles.
  • From $6 to $7 for motorcycles.
  • From $24 to $26 for two-year vehicle registrations.

There’s a $5 convenience fee (except for Belle Isle Park) when the Recreation Passport is not purchased at the time of your license plate registration renewal through the Secretary of State, and is instead purchased at a state park or recreation area.

New nonresident Recreation Passport fees, including the nonresident annual pass that went from $36 to $39, went into effect Jan. 1, 2023.

circular blue graphic, almost like a life preserver, with words Recreation Passport inred text, wrapped by blue words Play, Protect, Preserve“The Recreation Passport model, introduced in 2010, provides a unique funding opportunity for the state’s parks and recreation system,” said Ron Olson, DNR Parks and Recreation chief.

“In essence, the annual resident Recreation Passport was tied to the Secretary of State’s vehicle registration process,” he said. “Not only was the purchasing opportunity put in front of more residents, but the cost per vehicle also dropped significantly. That shift resulted in more purchases that ultimately better support these outdoor spaces and protect natural and cultural resources for the next generation.”

In fiscal year 2022, 40% of eligible vehicles in Michigan had the Recreation Passport.

All revenue generated by Recreation Passport sales goes into a restricted fund that supports state park infrastructure and operations, a local grant program for community recreation agencies, state forest campgrounds and nonmotorized pathways and trails, cultural and historic resource restoration, and marketing and promotion.

Olson noted, too, that Michigan state parks are largely self-supporting. Approximately 97% of state parks funding is generated by user fees (including the Recreation Passport) and royalty revenues; just 3% comes from Michigan’s General Fund tax dollars.

Learn more about the Recreation Passport – how to get it, where it can take you, what it supports – at Michigan.gov/RecreationPassport.

DNR: Deteriorating ice may prompt early shanty removal

DNR: Deteriorating ice may prompt early shanty removal

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DNR News

Feb. 10, 2023
Contact: Acting Lt. Jeff Rabbers, 269-207-6976

Deteriorating ice may prompt early shanty removal

ice shantiesAnglers taking advantage of winter ice fishing should keep a close watch on ice conditions, as unseasonable weather may prompt shanty removal prior to the seasonal dates required by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Throughout most of the Lower Peninsula, Mother Nature unfortunately didn’t cooperate with us this year,” said acting Lt. Jeff Rabbers, DNR Law Enforcement Division. “As disappointing as it is that many anglers must cut their season short, safety is the DNR’s main priority. We want to make sure that everyone has ample opportunity to remove their shanties before conditions become unsafe.”

People venturing onto ice should use extreme caution as temperatures begin to rise or fluctuate. The repeated thawing and refreezing of ice weakens its strength, decreasing its ability to support the additional weight of people, snowmobiles, ORVs and shanties. Deteriorating ice, water currents and high winds increase the probability of pressure cracks, which can leave anglers and others stranded on ice floes or at risk of falling through the ice.

Shanty owners whose structures fall through the ice are subject to penalties of up to 30 days in jail, fines up to $500, or both. If a shanty is removed by a government agency, the court can require the owner to reimburse that agency for up to three times the cost of removal.

Learn more at Michigan.gov/IceSafety.

Removal dates

Daily use of ice shanties is permitted anywhere in Michigan if ice conditions allow and if the shanties are removed from the ice at the end of each day.

Seasonal removal dates begin with Lake St. Clair, located northeast of Detroit. This year, shanties must be removed from Lake St. Clair before sunset Sunday, Feb. 26.

Shanties in the northern Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Wednesday, March 15. Those counties include Alcona, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Bay, Benzie, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Iosco, Isabella, Kalkaska, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Midland, Missaukee, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Presque Isle, Roscommon and Wexford.

Ice shanties in the remaining counties of the Lower Peninsula must be removed by midnight Wednesday, March 1.

In the Upper Peninsula, on Michigan-Wisconsin boundary waters, ice shanties must be removed by midnight Wednesday, March 15.

All other bodies of water in the Upper Peninsula must have ice shanties removed by midnight Friday, March 31.

Spring fishing

The end of ice fishing season means it’s time to start preparing for spring fishing. Make sure to get your fishing license and check out the 2023 fishing guide when they become available March 1, ahead of the annual fishing license renewal period starting April 1. Find more information on licenses and fishing opportunities at Michigan.gov/Fishing.

With warm weather on the horizon, many anglers will soon target fish species by boat. Make sure you’re boater safety certified – in Michigan, anyone born on or after June 30, 1996, must successfully complete an approved boater safety education course to operate a vessel. Find more information on boater safety online at Michigan.gov/RecreationalSafety.

Note to editors: An accompanying photo is available below for download. Caption information follows.

Shanties: The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reminds anglers that ice shanty removal dates are quickly approaching and to always use extreme caution when on the ice. Regardless of the set removal dates, changing ice conditions could require removal before those dates because all shanties must be removed once ice can no longer safely support them. Photo of Black Lake in northern Michigan, Feb. 4.